Burger Night: or, On Burgers, Exes, and Burying the Lede.

There are few things I find more deeply satisfying here in the city than indulging, midweek, in a proper slab of red meat. The weeknight part of it is key – the potential for food coma on a school night somehow makes the experience that much more gratifying. Also crucial: good company. Consumption of the four-legged works much better if someone is there to watch you, and to partake in the sprawling mess of it all. This is probably how MD and I came to have at least once-a-month burger nights. Burger night does not vary much in its structure: it takes place either at Dumont Burger or at Schillers, almost always on a Tuesday night around 7 pm. I order my burger rare, plain, with fries; MD gets his medium rare, will occasionally experiment with cheese, and also indulges in the fries. If we’re at Schillers we also ask for a side of au poivre sauce, which the nice folks there will gladly dole out free of charge, and which makes the entire experience that much more glorious: dipping burgers into what is essentially a side of gravy is very very dirty. I love it. Burger night is a thing of beauty, partly because it’s a freestanding engagement that has its own rules and logic, and to which very few components can be added without potentially messing with the gods. Sometimes we’ll wander into a bar afterwards for a drink or two, the ‘wandering’ a crucial aspect, as we need to walk off the protein-carb blitz. But that’s about it. We don’t mess with burger night. It goes without saying, then, that the formula goes horribly awry when you try to combine burger night with “meeting up with your ex for the first time since he may or may not have broken your heart three months earlier” night. Based on the events that unfolded this past Tuesday night, it would appear that the following things will happen to you if you mess with the gods of burger night: 1. Upon leaving Schillers, with an hour to kill before the appointed meeting-up time, you will check your voicemail messages. While standing on the sidewalk, phone in hand, you will get clocked on the head by a flying can of PBR. A full, open can of PBR. It will hit you squarely on the forehead, and as it rolls off the sidewalk and into the street, you will crumple slightly to the ground, moaning “What the fuck?” on your way down. 2. Bystanders will start pointing at open windows in the apartment building above you, trying to figure out where the can came from. The nice hostesses at Schillers will sit you down and offer to call the police. You decline their offer. You’re still in shock from the realization that a can of PBR just connected with your head. You’re offered a pack of ice wrapped inside paper towels. You accept. Five minutes later, while crossing the street with MD, you will burst into post-shock tears. You will start feeling incredibly ridiculous. While all of this should have served to perhaps nudge you in the direction of postponing this meet-up, you, head throbbing, decide that it's still a really good idea. 3. An hour later, icepack still firmly attached to your head, you find yourself waiting to see the guy who may or may not have broken your heart three months earlier. Twenty minutes into your silence-filled reunion, you put the icepack down on the bar, excuse yourself, head to the ladies room, and promptly throw up the entire contents of burger night. 4. Made slightly crazy by the night’s events, you will then find yourself opening the door of discomfit that much further by telling the ex who may or may not have broken your heart that the one date you’ve been on in the three month interim was with one of his former co-workers. Because really, at this point, with no remnants of burger night actually in you, all bets are off.

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